SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France (AP) – Marcel Siem had the perfect answer for all of his critics: a second European Tour title.
The 120th-ranked German shot a 4-under 67 on Sunday to win the French Open, edging Francesco Molinari of Italy by one stroke.
“You get those Facebook things these days and all of the people talking badly about you,'' Siem said. “And this morning I said: `I'm not like that, I'm not afraid to do things.'''
Siem had five birdies and one bogey to finish at 8-under 276, earning his first European Tour title since he won the 2004 Dunhill Championship in South Africa.
“Eight years, it's such a long time that you don't win and I just wanted to win, win, win,'' Siem said. “Then if something happens, it just drove me mad.''
Siem had a share of the lead in the final round of the BMW International Open two weeks ago in Germany. But he dropped five shots in three holes to slip down the leaderboard and finish sixth.
“I screwed up a lot of golf tournaments because of my emotions, I was too negative,'' he said. “But it was only because I wanted to win so hard. Now I've got the win and it's going to make me relax a lot more now.''
Molinari started the round in 22nd place, six strokes off the lead. He dropped two shots at his opening hole but then sank nine birdies to shoot a 64 for the lowest round of the day.
“Crazy round really,'' Molinari said. “Yesterday I birdied the first and had the perfect start and then nothing worked out after that. So today I thought maybe it's the other way around.''
“I started poorly and everything else is going to go right. Unbelievable round out there, I was in the moment, in the zone, and I wasn't really counting the birdies.''
Raphael Jacquelin of France had a 69 to finish third, two strokes off the pace.
Overnight leaders David Howell of England and Anders Hansen of Denmark bogeyed two of their first three holes to surrender the lead to a group of four tied at 6 under – Ian Poulter, Jacquelin, Siem and Molinari.
Despite gusts of wind reaching 21 miles per hour, Molinari managed to set a target of 277 for the other contenders.
“That put a lot of pressure on all of us,'' Siem said.
Siem took a two-stroke lead with short birdies on the 14th and the 15th, while Poulter and Henrik Stenson of Sweden tied Molinari by picking up a shot on the 16th.
But Poulter's momentum stalled when he bogeyed the penultimate hole. The Englishman closed with a 69 to share fourth with compatriots David Lynn and Howell at 279.
Siem had a minor scare on the par-4 final hole when he pulled his tee shot into a bunker. But he recovered by hitting his third shot within 15 feet of the flag.
Siem knew the victory was his when his playing partner Stenson fluffed his third shot across the green and into the water for a triple bogey to slip to seventh place, tied with American Brendan Steele at 280.